Southeast Asian foreign ministers sought to defuse conflicts from Myanmar's military takeover and China's expanding footprint, along with North Korea's aggressive missile testing.
Recovering from the nearly three-year COVID-19 pandemic is a priority for the organization along with dealing with climate change, food shortages and inflation.
Rising tensions between the United States and China and Myanmar's descent into widespread violence dominated talks among a 10-nation bloc of Southeast Asian leaders.
Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations including China signed a pact to create the world's biggest trading alliance, covering 30% of global GDP.
Despite fears about being weighed down with too much debt, developing nations embraced the infusion of Chinese cash.